PipeChat Digest #3523 - Friday, March 7, 2003
 
Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2
  by "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com>
Re: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2
  by "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net>
Re: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2
  by "Sand Lawn" <glawn@jam.rr.com>
Kent Tritle at St. Ignatius NY - 3-2-03
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Re: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Holy Week music (X-posted)
  by <quilisma@socal.rr.com>
 

(back) Subject: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2 From: "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 20:29:13 -0600   Pre-Spring Break in Jacksonville Beach with Felix February 16, 2003   Part 2 of 2   [2d half of program:   Chorale No. 3 in A minor - Franck Abendefriede (that doesn't look right - "Evening") - Rheinberger Sonata No. 3 in A - Mendelssohn Adagio (Consolation No. 4) - Liszt Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H - Liszt   Encores:   Finale from Symphony I - Vierne Toccata from Fifth Symphony - Widor]     In my opinion, Felix actually excels with Franck's No. 2 chorale, which I heard him do live at Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown (with his beautifully playing through the cipher at the end which obligingly was the tonic, if I remember correctly), and on his recent CD recorded late last year at the cathedral in Newark. Malcolm Wechsler and Mike Gettleman have both commented on his wonderful performance of the No. 1, and I will take their word for it. However, here the ending of the A-minor was so fast as to approach a runaway train. I was reminded of Marie Claire Alain's recording of this piece, which is also lovely until that third section (have you noticed that most, if not all, of Franck's organ music has a distinctive beginning, middle and ending section? Of course, many times the ending third is a treatment of the first section with a wedding of the theme from the second section, a great composing technique and good for lay listeners, who can "get it" and feel intellectual from doing so). Felix did up the middle so beautifully that he made up for the rest - I think it's my favorite moment of Franck, although as I get older it is harder to choose. This selection was one instance where I would have wished for a little more organ at the end, had it existed.   I have used the term "runaway train", which always calls to mind Gary Larson's Far Side strip of the woman putting away groceries with two milk cartons on the table sporting pictures of trains and the captions "Missing" and "Have you seen me?". Because of my chronic malady of stream of consciousness, I must warn you that I am digressing here. We are all guilty of jumping on that train from time to time. Even when I listen to recordings of Marie Claire Alain and Michael Murray doing the Franck, it can be sensed. Adrenalin is the primary culprit, and it takes training and discipline (and massive quantities of bananas) to master the tendency. One may get faster and faster and completely lose the rhythmic constant (I actually heard this in recital once - it was so bad that I never recognized the Bach Little Prelude and Fugue in B flat). Or one may play as Glenn Gould did the Invention No. 13 in A minor, extremely fast and in rhythm, but actually dropping a note or two and almost losing the melodic line (very unusual for him, too). Planning the recital to avoid the beast of adrenalin is how many artists combat the problem - a toccata at the beginning could be bad for some, and maintaining the energy level to wrestle one at the end is a dilemma for others.   Although emphasizing notes and beats in organ playing is a different animal from doing so while playing piano or other instruments (a topic of long discussion with my teacher in articulating Baroque music, particularly Handel and Bach), one must remember that just like a democracy, the weak beats have a voice and vote too, although like politics not as much influence. Those notes were written for a purpose. In fact, if nothing else they help to hold the rhythm secure and make the piece musical. While playing strictly metronometrically (I think I just made up a word!) is no fun, the trick is to discipline oneself to avoid racing the weak and last beats of measures. My first piano teacher always told me to never play fast just because I can - never forget to emphasize the musicality of the piece. It is a tried and true rule that one should play only as fast as required by the selection and as fast as it can be done correctly and in tempo. Speed only impresses if it is accompanied by the skill and discipline of maintaining the rhythmic line and musical whole.   How did we get off on trains? That reminds me of my term "freight train music" which I use to describe 20th century post-expressionist music, particularly of the organ genre. But where were we? Oh yeah, I was describing Felix' recital - sorry about that. I did not mean that Felix was guilty of the chronic runaway train malady, but I noticed some tension at certain points of the Franck, and in the Gigout and the morning's Mendelssohn (the latter two were most problematic) where he was working hard to rein in that horse, and did a valiant job. However, slowing the pace a nanosecond or two would probably prevent that tension - much harder done than said. (Trying to get this post edited after a hard day in court and in the office with the extreme tension among the employees caused by a secretary's impending unhappy departure is not an optimal time for finding the words that precisely say what I am trying to impart, so please forgive me or scratch the preceding three paragraphs.)   The Rheinberger was played as an old friend, which it is to Felix. He displayed a great deal of maturity in his phrasing, and again, it was better than I've ever heard him do it. Mendelssohn, my old flame, featured prominently with the Sonata No. 3, and I was happy to have the chance to hear Felix play this one. As I earlier alluded, Gigout's Toccata almost ran away from Felix - I did not note any missed notes, but I could sense that he was tired. His pedaling technique was exhibited to great satisfaction.   I have finally found one piece that I can play better than Felix Hell - the Adagio or Consolation No. 4. It takes gray hair, and preferably back pain (and some drowsiness from a dose of painkiller always helps), to play it properly and bring out the pathos - one must be old, doddering, slow, and able to count to 8 in a deliberate manner - so slow, in fact, to sometimes forget which was the preceding number. In fact, the Franz Man told me (in a prior life of mine, of course) that he was suffering from severe back and hip pain (brought on from trying to play the Wedge in an alley behind the Trocadero - I never asked why he was behind the Trocadero at the time) when he wrote it. Felix is too young and full of energy to have experienced that kind of pain - does he ever wear out? However, my volume of the B-A-C-H has been in mothballs ever since I heard Felix' debut of this piece, and he cut it no slack this time. Wow!   The encores were very lively and pleasing - the Vierne always makes me smile. Felix received several standing ovations during and after the recital. It was a satisfying evening, with very little fidgeting by the audience. People were heard to remark that they had never heard this organ or any organ played as it was that night. My Rick was entranced. Felix' reputation as the great ambassador of the organ is untarnished.   I noticed that Tiger Wood smiles very little while he is playing golf - does he really enjoy it? Felix exudes joy in his playing, and infects others with that joy. To borrow the salutation to the ancient kings of Persia, Felix, may you live forever.   Glenda Sutton gksjd85@direcway.com        
(back) Subject: Re: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2 From: "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2003 21:59:10 -0500   On 3/6/03 9:29 PM, "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> wrote:   > To borrow the salutation to the ancient kings of > Persia, Felix, may you live forever.   Glenda, I'm a Malcolm partisan. I've never seen anyone write such reviews as he does. But now I think he's feeling threatened. You have done us = all a wonderful service. Thank you VERY much.   Alan      
(back) Subject: Re: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2 From: "Sand Lawn" <glawn@jam.rr.com> Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 23:02:15 -0600   Glenda!   Please keep postings reviews of any organ concert you attend. The stream = of conciousness method is most effective. Your attentiveness comes across = very clearly... and for a lawyer your words make sense. Thanks.   Sand   This is in response to your review of Felix Hell's concert in Jax Beach.    
(back) Subject: Kent Tritle at St. Ignatius NY - 3-2-03 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 00:57:28 -0500   KENT TRITLE at St. Ignatius Loyola, NY - Last Sunday, March 2nd, 2003   Dear Lists and Friends,   Giving up my usual Organist's Sunday afternoon nap to travel for 90 = minutes to sit in a hard pew to listen to 90 minutes of Organ music at St. = Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan rewards me richly every time I do it. I don't miss the nap, I don't mind the trip, and I don't even notice the hard pews, which = do, of course, contribute to a superb acoustic. This time, the trip was to = hear Kent Tritle, Director of Music Ministries at St. Ignatius, in a wonderful, cleverly-conceived Organ recital program, and to be sure, one wonderfully played as well. I was, it must be told, in the company of certainly 500 people, if not more. No longer, around this place, would it ever occur to = us to utter the oft spoken phrase: "Pretty good crowd for an Organ recital!" You'll be interested to know that the cameras of A.B.C. Television covered from all angles every note of this event, even including Assistant = Organist Andrew Henderson's welcoming speech. In the big projection TV screen up front that enables us to watch the Organist, who is well hidden behind the Ruck Positif in the west gallery, it was fun to see a couple of times the lens of a TV camera closing in on Kent's feet! The object of all this was = a program about the resurgence of interest in the Pipe Organ in our time!! = Can you say Halleluia!?   First on the menu, the not very often played Bach G Minor Prelude & Fugue, BWV 535. This is about as close as we get to a cyclic symphony in the preludes and fugues of Bach, and while thinking of Franck (I was), this piece has some unusual chromatic moments as well. Bars 10 and 11 of the prelude have in the Pedal a bold statement of the opening of the Fugue subject. In the Fugue, there are fragments of melody which remind us of = the opening bar of the prelude, particularly at the very end. Years ago, David Liddle played this piece in Woolsey Hall, and I can still hear him warning the audience about a strange fourteen bar section which descends chromatically, perhaps tediously, down a tenth (beginning at bar 19). For all of this, Kent used a big and richly reedy sound, which I thought very effective for the material. He did some lovely stretching in the fugue subject, mainly of the first note in the second bar of the subject. Altogether, this was a lovely performance of a work that really deserves = to be treated well, and perhaps heard more.   The Couperin Masses love this Organ, as is the case with other like-minded music. We heard two sections of the Mass for Convents. The Elevation = (Tierce en Taille), which we have all pulled wickedly out of context for use as a prelude, gave us one of several Cornet possibilities - in this case, the Positif. This was played with a lovely, supple and relaxed <note inegale>. The Offertoires of both Masses are jaunty and wonderful, and the one from the Convents Mass is indelibly in my memory from a performance by the = late, magnificent, Walter Blodgett at Oberlin when I was there. The place was = the old Warner Concert Hall, with its Holtkamp reworking of an Ernest Skinner Organ. The old console, I guess, remained, and there was both a Positif = and the Skinner Choir division, both playable on the bottom manual, with a switch to choose between them. It was at best an awkward arrangement, and = at an early registration change, planned to go from Great to Positif, Walter landed on the gorgeous Flute Celeste, which caused him to yell at the top = of his lungs: "Oh Sh_t." He managed quite quickly to regain his composure and move on. I think it took all of us a little longer. I have very fond memories of that wonderful old hall (wooden floor and ceiling, and plaster walls), and also of the Organ.   We go from generation to generation, and we bring gifts from then to now, good gifts, hopefully. I have known Dan Pinkham for a long time, but I = never knew until I read Kent's notes that he studied with: Wanda Landowska, E. Power Biggs, Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, Arthur Honegger, and Samuel Barber - not naming the complete list. A lot of heavy artillery has gone into this man's playing and composing! We heard a 1971 work, A Prophecy = For Organ, commissioned by Harvard University and dedicated to E. Power = Biggs, who played the first performance as part of the dedication festivities for the Fisk Organ in the Memorial Church. I had never heard this incredible piece before. It is replete with great clusters of sound and many registration and dynamic changes, and makes a very powerful effect. I was tremendously moved by it, and by the performance.   And then, for something completely different - The Mendelssohn First = Sonata in F Minor. Kent launched into the first movement with wonderful symphonic transparency. Without benefit of a Dome Organ, he gave us the lovely = chorale on a clear and gentle 8', 4' and 2' combination, I think on the Positif, near and dear to us. It was great. The gentle middle movements were = lyrical and lovely. The last movement was launched as from a rocket - it just took off magnificently, and finished the first half of the program on a great high.   Intermission gave us a chance to visit around. I was sitting with Felix Hell, who several times, at breaks, commented with amazement that here he was sitting in an Organ recital, and he did not have to play anything. = This is the guy who flies off somewhere just about every weekend, and plays at least one recital, before returning to the classrooms at Curtis. He came = to New York this past weekend to play Sunday morning at his old church home, St. Peter Citicorp, and stuck around to hear Kent. Dr. Thomas Schmidt, Kantor at St. Peter's came uptown for the recital as well.   In the first half of the program, Kent had saved some of the power of the Organ for later, and later was now. We heard the first two movements of = the Guilmant Sonata No. 5, beginning with the first movement, Allegro Appassionato, and glorious it was. The second movement, a fabulous long Adagio, is really almost excruciatingly beautiful. Beginning and ending softly, it does build at least to a forte in the middle. It is strikingly chromatic. The fact that it begins and ends in A flat major, with a = dramatic middle section in C sharp, gives one some idea. There was a hushed silence after this movement, followed by a great swell of applause. While I now = long to hear the rest of this sonata, I also realize that by excerpting two movements from this five movement work, and also giving us just a taste of the Couperin, it was possible to have a more varied program, including = works like the Pinkham and also the amazing piece we were about to hear next. = The last movement of the Guilmant, Choral and Fugue, has as its fugue subject the first eight notes and rhythm of the Bach "Gigue" Fugue. That will be = fun for next time.   Franklin Ashdown's powerful work, "Requiem for the Challenger" is not inappropriate for this time in our history. Trumpet player Scott McIntosh, who is well-known to St. Ignatius audiences, joined Kent for this stunning work. The Trumpet part is relatively tonal, but the accompaniment does amazing things around it, including some rather gentle high drone-like = notes that create quite an eerie feeling. Mr. Ashdown, born in 1942, in addition to being a prolific composer, is also a physician.   Kent has made several summer performing visits to Germany in recent years, and I know he has played the great Ladegast Organ in the Cathedral at Merseburg, the Organ on which Liszt's Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H had its first performance in 1856. I believe he may have played this work on that Organ, but he is off somewhere warm and far away for a short break, and I can't ask him. While the St. Ignatius Organ is not based on the German Romantic model, but rather on French antecedents, it possesses everything needed to bring the Liszt work to life, and so it was that the combination of Organ and player gave us a stunning closing work for a wonderful = program.   However:   A standing and cheering audience begged for a bit more, and my did we get it! At the first few notes, I was already completely melted. Scott came = back to the front of the gallery, raised his Trumpet, and together, he and Kent gave a fantastic performance of Nimrod, from Elgar's Enigma Variations. = Who would have thought it? Is that not one of the most powerful and moving melodies ever? I think I will hear forever the very highest note near the end, with that powerful Trumpet sound pushing itself into every corner of the great building. As I was heading toward the west doors into the = narthex, a woman said loudly, "Gosh, you would think there was a real trumpet up there!"   As always after an Organ recital at St. Ignatius, there is an announcement that anyone wanting to tour the Organ should gather at the south end of = the narthex. It seems that more and more people have been taking advantage of this, and when I went upstairs later, Andrew Henderson and Nancianne Parrella had over 50 people in the gallery. A.B.C. took it all in, as another example of the resurgence of interest in the Pipe Organ. Three cheers . . .   And one cheer more.   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com      
(back) Subject: Re: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 01:17:50 -0500   Alan Dear,   This is not like you. If I felt threatened, it would imply some sort of status seeking or jockeying for position. I am committed to the idea that reporting on concerts played by Organists is a good and important use of this forum, and I am really pleased when people take the time and trouble = to do this.   Cheers,   Malcolm   ----- Original Message ----- From: "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 9:59 PM Subject: Re: Jacksonville Beach with Felix, Part 2     > On 3/6/03 9:29 PM, "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> wrote: > > > To borrow the salutation to the ancient kings of > > Persia, Felix, may you live forever. > > Glenda, I'm a Malcolm partisan. I've never seen anyone write such = reviews > as he does. But now I think he's feeling threatened. You have done us all > a wonderful service. Thank you VERY much. > > Alan >      
(back) Subject: Holy Week music (X-posted) From: <quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 00:08:17 -0800   We got out the Holy Week music tonight at choir practice ... some of you on my download list have already received it, some haven't. Let me see if I can list what might be of interest ... just drop me a note privately and let me know what you want. All modern notation. All texts are '28 Prayer Book / American Missal English. Sorry! (grin)   PALM SUNDAY   Hosanna, filio David - C. Rossini / Clark - SATB Pueri Hebraeorum 1, 2 - Gregorian; alternate psalm verses set to Blow in d minor, written out - SATB Ingrediente Domino - C. Rossini / Clark - SATB Introit - Domine, ne longe - Gregorian, mode 8, with repeat of antiphon in SATB fauxbourdon Introit - Domine, ne longe - arr. from Dr. Willan - SATB Gradual - Christus factus est (according to the new rite) - Pietro Yon / Clark - SATB - paraphrases the Gregorian melody ... very nice, actually Offertory - haven't done one yet, since we only went back to singing them this year - there'll be an SAB Rossini/Clark shortly (grin) Communion - Pater si non potest - Gregorian, mode 8   MAUNDY THURSDAY   Introit - Nos autem - arr. from Dr. Willan - SATB Gradual - Psalm 116 - set to Troutbeck in G (double chant), written out - SATB Mandatum - all the antiphons and Ubi caritas, set to their original Gregorian melodies in English ... AFAIK, they don't exist anywhere else in modern notation Offertory - see above Communion - (1) Hoc corpus - Gregorian, mode 8 (2) Hoc corpus - arr. from Dr. Willan - SATB Pange lingua - Gregorian, with the alternate verses set to the Palestrina fauxbourdon, written out - SATB Stripping of the Altar - (1) Gregorian, direct tone - written out (2) Gregorian, with proper Gregorian melody for the antiphon, and alternate verses in SATB fauxbourdon   GOOD FRIDAY   Psalm 69 - Direct tone with SATB fauxbourdons, written out Gradual - Christus factus est, as above Veneration of the Cross - (1) Ecce lignum Crucis - modern simple melody, with SATB responses (2) Vittoria Reproaches, with all the verses written out in full with the CORRECT melodies ... sorry, no accompaniment (3) Crux fidelis - written out in full with the Palestrina fauxbourdons .... same TUNE as Maundy Thursday, since the congregation sings it and the proper Gregorian melody has a VERY wide range. Somewhere I also have it set to "Urbs beata Jerusalem" with the Burgess fauxbourdons for the refrains. Sorry, no accompaniment. (4) Stabat Mater - written out in full to the Sarum tune in the Hymnal 1940 ... we have a very LONG veneration (grin) ... church is always PACKED. I need to add a fauxbourdon to this. Sorry, no accompaniment. Return of the Blessed Sacrament - (1) Vexilla regis - proper Gregorian melody with "St. Cross" for the alternate verses, so the congregation can sing. Makes a nice combination. Sorry, no accompaniment. (2) the three antiphons from the '56 rite ... our procession is very long, as the Altar of Repose is in another BUILDING.   EASTER VIGIL   We do a very simple one, with all the canticles, etc. set to simple psalm-tones, since it's sung by two chanters and the congregation. Probably have to do up a big one for next year ... with baptisms, we'll probably have a full church THIS year.   EASTER DAY   Vidi aquam - the simple tone from English Gradual I Introit - Resurrexi - arr. from Dr. Willan - SATB Gradual - Haec dies - ditto Alleluia - Pascha nostrum - ditto Sequence - the Gregorian melody, written out and corrected Offertory - see above Fraction Anthem - Christ our Passover - with the triple alleluia from Lauds of Easter Vigil - Russian chant, SATB Communion - Psacha nostrum - arr. from Dr. Willan - SATB Salve festa dies - the proper Gregorian melody, written out in full ... sorry, no accompaniment   I also have a setting of the Easter Canon that I did for St. Margaret's in Budapest ... I don't know where it came from ... presumably one of the English alternative service-books. Choir responses in SATB (Russian, as I recall).   Sorry I haven't kept up with the Responsorial Psalms for Lent ... since we've gone back to singing the Offertories, I have to write better ones .... we used to sing them out of English Gradual II (UGH! (grin).   Just drop me a line privately with your wish-list, and specify PDF or Sibelius files. But do it NOW, before I get REALLY busy (chuckle).   Cheers,   Bud